Olivia Chen

Perforated House Questions Architectural Symbolism

by , 08/21/09

perforated house, Kavellaris Urban Design, contemporary architecture, contemporary home design, sustainable building, solar orientation, passive ventilation, city block home design

Quirky and full of unexpected design choices, this Australian residence by Kavellaris Urban Design, asserts that holding onto old architectural aesthetics can be both silly and unsustainable. The Perforated House’s high-tech, translucent exterior is etched with ornamental details to pose commentary on contemporary homes that adhere strongly to traditional architectural typologies — the terrace home, in this particular case. Observing that the dated aesthetic has “a stronger link with romanticized nostalgia rather than good design,” the architects set out to re-work the traditional terrace home, creating this case study house with an ironic and more eco-friendly new aesthetic for building.

Kavellaris Urban Design, contemporary architecture, contemporary home design, sustainable building, solar orientation, passive ventilation, city block home design

The architects mention on their website that the terrace house’s layout and front-facade focus fail to give attention to solar orientation or passive ventilation. So to begin their investigation, the architects relocated the public and private spaces of the home. With the bedrooms downstairs and the public living areas upstairs, the top floor can open up completely without compromising any privacy.

Upper-level bi-fold doors allow the home to transition from public to private, space to void — and then back. Transitioning between different facades, the architects said, “By day, the building is heavy and reflective but by night inverts to a soft, translucent, permeable light box.” To further transform the home, the architects incorporated movable walls throughout the interior of the home, allowing the residents to open or enclose spaces as they please.

Kavellaris Urban Design, contemporary architecture, contemporary home design, sustainable building, solar orientation, passive ventilation, city block home design

As the architects were frustrated by the un-sustainability of the traditional terrace house, they were sure to take advantage of eco-friendly techniques. These include: exterior bi-fold doors that provide the benefits of cross ventilation, a tiny lot at 5.5 meters x 14.4 meters (or approximately 18 feet x 47 feet for us Americans) and the use of solar hot water.

And if you love it — you’ll be happy to know that the house is up for sale!

+ Kavellaris Urban Design

Via desire to inspire

All photos courtesy of Peter Bennetts

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2 Comments

  1. perfectcirclecarpenter August 23, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    At first glance, I wonder how those doors will function if the trees eventually grow? I am not seeing a safety rail in the wide open second story, so I think it is silly or cheap but definitely less functional to have painted rails… unless there is a large expensive glass rail up there… but then what is the point of doors opening wide if glass obscures the open air?
    So we’ve eschewed the highly manufactured materials that reflect the traditional architectural styles existing in the neighborhood, because the use of cars on the roadway in front of the home renders the functional aspects of such to be dated or obsolete… yet what we are replacing it with is more expensive custom manufactured materials (a half million dollar CNC is needed right?).. and the effect is that we’ve reduced to symbols the romantic imagery associated with owning a terraced style home. A functional balcony is in fact a desirable aspect, which has unfortunately been rendered unusable by the closed shell car driven lifestyle forced upon us by manufactured circumstances and poor zoning ordinances.
    This modern box is still a closed shell structure, still not connecting with nature, still supporting a density that promotes rather than reduces car driven isolation. Local materials and local craftsmen are still getting cut out of the deal.
    I would rather purchase the two adjacent properties, expand them vertically to create 4 homes out of 2, and transform the middle property into a treescape with a water feature. The styling, whether eschewed, simplified, or embraced, cannot compete with the incorporation of nature. Interestingly, having a natural courtyard, the space becomes ideal for terraces and patios.

  2. d August 21, 2009 at 10:09 am

    its not etched its perforated steel – thus the perforated house used
    by several melbourne and australian architects to produce images
    on the front of churches, buildings, road sides.

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